The Mets posted their lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Reds and there’s something interesting: Jose Reyes is starting in left field. Coming into the 2017 season, Reyes had never played in the outfield. And coming into tonight, he had logged just one inning in the outfield this season, coming on May 13 against the Brewers when he moved into center field from shortstop amid a flurry of defensive changes. Even in the minors, Reyes logged only one inning in the outfield back in 2000 in rookie ball.
With a litany of injuries, the Mets have been forced to get creative. The club learned on Monday that Yoenis Cespedes would miss the rest of the season, opening up left field.
Reyes, 34, is batting .230/.293/.381 with nine home runs, 40 RBI, 52 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 433 plate appearances this season. While he hasn’t hit well, he has provided versatility, playing third base and second base along with shortstop. And now he’ll add left field to his resume.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.